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Time:  22 minutes

Music: Berlioz, Harold in Italy, Davis/Menuhin/LSO.

Despite my good time, I found parts of this puzzle rather inexplicable.   Some of the cryptics are very obscure, and give little reassurance to a biffer hoping for a quick time.   Yes, you can figure most ot them out eventually, but this is likely to slow down your solve considerably.   At least none of the answers are at all obscure, which would have made this puzzle very difficult indeed.

Two other quick notes:

I am very pleased with the two newest bloggers I have recruited, known locally as brnchn and curarist.   We have a good reliable set of bloggers here, who post their blogs on time and without fuss, but I always have some degree of  trepidation when I bring in a new blogger.      However, their blogs have turned out to be excellent, fully up to the high standard we try to maintain.

As Verlaine has mentioned, he is visiting New York City at the beginning of August.   We are trying to set something up for the 30th of July, which will probably be in a public bar or restaurant.   As soon as we have a venue fixed, I'll make an announcement.

1 Didn't shut reference book writer has gone into (6)
OPENED - O.(PEN)E.D., our old friend the Oxford English Dictionary.
5 Worrying about noise recurring in Alcatraz, say (8)
CAREWORN - The evident answer, but I really can't make anything of the cryptic.   'About' must = either 'c' or 'ca', but that's as far as I can get. The correct parsing is CA(RE + ROW backards)N.  I was completely fooled by C/CA.
9 Car judge reversed across street (8)
DRAGSTER - REGARD backwards around ST.
10 Place to meet in 'ackney? That is relative (6)
11 Book in its entirety produced on time, in fact (10)
TRUTHFULLY - T + RUTH FULLY, another book of the Bible clue.
13 Sound of gunfire from urban guerrillas (4)
BANG - hidden in [ur]BAN G[uerillas].
14 Mentioned a bit of a fork in river (4)
TYNE - sounds like TINE.
15 Playing tonight — Man City (10)
NOTTINGHAM - anagram of TONIGHT - MAN.   I had biffed "Tottingham", but I have learned enough to count the letters by now.
18 Cheers a military officer seizing large city of old (3,3,4)
ALL THE BEST - A L(L,THEBES)T, where "of old" does not indicate an 'o' or an 'ex'.
20 Fancy wife and that man getting together (4)
WHIM - W + HIM, a clue escaped from the Quickie.
21 Farm animal eats hot dog (4)
CHOW - C(H)OW, another Quickie clue
23 Lolly: endlessly gooey snack item (10)
25 To the west, a space in which to create temple (6)
PAGODA - A DO GAP backwards, lift and separate.
26 Little fellow's to hitchhike, covering miles (3,5)
28 Note enclosed by a person posting letter (8)
ASCENDER - A S(C)ENDER, a technical term of typography.
29 Dim-witted baronet stuck in river (6)
OBTUSE - O(BT.)USE.   It is helpful to know the correct abbreviation for baronet!

2 Jamaican town or ancient city in China (4,5)
PORT ROYAL - Double definition. Now a town in Jamaica, it was a large city until destroyed by by an earthquake in 1692.   It is also apparently a style or brand of porcelain, but this has proved very hard to track down  P(OR TROY)AL is the correct parsing, so the existence of the china I allude to in my reply to npbull must be a coincidence.
3 Item of lingerie at hand, with lace on the bottom (7)
NIGHTIE - NIGH + TIE, where 'lace' is a verb.
4 Oz heroine briefly making a point (3)
DOT - Double definition, where 'Dot' is the nickname for 'Dorothy'.   However, the Oz heroine is always called 'Dorothy'.
5 Hymn about Jesus almost over? (5)
CAROL - CA + LOR[d] upside-down.
6 Keen to study ditty we composed (5-6)
7 Shoot the breeze principally? One might (7)
WINDBAG - I can only see a cryptic definition.   'The breeze principally' might indicate 'B', but I can't get any further on this li WIND + BAG, where BAG is a verb.   'Principally' indicates that WIND comes first.
8 Govern Niger after revolution (5)
REIGN - anagram of NIGER.
12 Bit of a fiddle? Suspect council of guilt (11)
FINGERBOARD - FINGER BOARD, in an entirely different sense.
16 Finish off next article (3)
THE - THE[n], another Quickie escapee.
17 A funny programme and last parts of The Professionals, in no set order (2,2,5)
AS IT COMES - A SITCOM + [th]E [professional]S.
19 Closed faulty power line (7)
TOWROPE - TO + anagram of POWER.   'To' meaning 'closed' often catches me out.
20 We act oddly, note, in cave! (5,2)
WATCH IT - W[e] A[C]T + CHIT.  The temptation to make an anagram (oddly) of WE ACT is very strong.
22 Takes charge of macho publicity? (5)
24 Half-decent Queen record (5)
ENTER - [dec]ENT + ER.
27 Minutes accepted at the start by old chairman (3)
MAO - M[inutes] A[ccepted] + O.


( 70 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jul. 17th, 2017 01:46 am (UTC)
Alcatraz = CAN, about = RE, noise recurring = WOR (reverse ROW).
China = PAL; insert OR + TROY.
Shoot = BAG; preceded by ("principally") WIND (breeze).

Edited at 2017-07-17 01:50 am (UTC)
Jul. 17th, 2017 01:59 am (UTC)
CAREWORN was my LOI; it took me a while to work out the parsing, especially as I was thinking at first of CARE as an includer. 'Didn't shut' seems a poor definition of OPENED. I see McText has added the parsing of WINDBAG, so I'll delete my superfluous message.
Jul. 17th, 2017 02:20 am (UTC)
Enjoyed this one, as it had all the tricks in the setter's book without being especially difficult.

Last one in was the unknown (to me) ASCENDER, relieved to hear that it was "not at all obscure"!

COD to NOTTINGHAM, despite, like the blogger, having flirted with TOTTINGHAM.

Nice start to the week. Thanks setter and Vinyl.
Jul. 17th, 2017 02:49 am (UTC)
Under 30 mins
This is not quite a record for me, but pretty close. I wonder if my time improves by being on holidays.

PAGODA was my last in, taking a few minutes to parse it properly for confidence.

Thanks, Vinyl, for the blog and I echo galspray's "nice start to the week" nod to the setter.
Jul. 17th, 2017 03:14 am (UTC)
Nice offering
After yesterday's puzzle which I've still barely started, it was a delight to actually finish today's! I'm not altogether convinced about "recurring" as a reversal indicator, but otherwise everything made sense, once I'd checked several definitions in the dictionary! COD 20dn, where I too was looking for an anagram.

PS: thanks for the kind words, vinyl1!

Edited at 2017-07-17 03:15 am (UTC)
Jul. 17th, 2017 12:13 pm (UTC)
Re: Nice offering
Both this Saturday and this Sunday were really tough. I struggled for hours with Saturday, and was pleased to finish Sunday in 52 minutes. If my solution to Saturday is correct, those are some of the most obscure words I've ever seen in a Times puzzle.
Jul. 17th, 2017 03:41 am (UTC)
I interpreted "city of old" as Thebes, a refreshing departure from Ur. mvs
Jul. 17th, 2017 04:31 am (UTC)
I interpreted "city of old" as Thebes
So did the blogger.
Re: I interpreted "city of old" as Thebes - (Anonymous) - Jul. 17th, 2017 10:48 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 17th, 2017 03:54 am (UTC)
44 mins
a bit slow for a Monday but I was out early - yet still in week-end mode.

FOI and as per LG my COD is 15ac NOTTINGHAM (TOTTINGHAM was once famously used in an ad for throat lozenges in the UK.)



It was 37C at 9.00am and and another week of 'scorchio' is forecast.

Edited at 2017-07-17 06:10 am (UTC)
Jul. 17th, 2017 05:37 am (UTC)
Considering there were some really easy clues here I made heavy weather of this to the point where I ran out of steam half way through th egrid and nodded off. Still, I got there in the end.

I agree with misgivings about the definition at 1ac. "Didn't shut" is not the same as "opened".

Edited at 2017-07-17 06:34 am (UTC)
Jul. 17th, 2017 06:12 am (UTC)
10:55 … a few tricky things to wake the brain from its weekend, tennis-watching stupor.

Jul. 17th, 2017 06:32 am (UTC)
Just a tad ...
... harder than yer average Monday. And some nice devices to be appreciated. Only near downfall was being lured, as it were, into a different kind of lingerie at 3dn with N?G???E already in. (Might add that I've encountered a fair few nighties that would not, under any circumstances, count as "lingerie".)
Jul. 17th, 2017 06:43 am (UTC)
13:48. A little tricky in places. ASCENDER was the only obscurity but the wordplay was clear. I did consider every possible note though.
I slowed myself down by convincing myself 15ac was going to end -INGTON. Or not so much convincing myself as thinking of it first and then struggling to get beyond that idea even after my rational mind had concluded that it couldn't be right.
Jul. 17th, 2017 06:44 am (UTC)
Return to ascender
25 mins over rhubarb and vanilla yoghurt - and it has all been said. Eyebrow raised at 'opened' and 'recurring'. Otherwise steady stuff. I had Port Royal as 'or Troy' in Pal - which meant we had a Troy as well as a Thebes today. Thanks setter and Vinyl.

Edited at 2017-07-17 06:45 am (UTC)
Jul. 17th, 2017 08:04 am (UTC)
Open and shut case
20 minutes, a bit trickier than usual Monday as noted above. Not convinced by 1a definition and guessed PORT ROYAL, then saw the TROY bit afterwards. Alcatraz = CAN was a bit of a stretch too, although I suppose it is just a prison. Impressively scary, I remember from a visit 35 years ago.
Jul. 17th, 2017 08:18 am (UTC)
Nice straightforward stuff. I think I knew ASCENDER from my wife being a primary school teacher; I'm sure she's mentioned them at some point.

The mentions above of TOTTINGHAM take me back to one of Tottenham Hotspur's FA Cup victories in '81 or '82 when there was a strong tradition of teams releasing an FA Cup song (thankfully a tradition that's now ceased unless I've just not heard recent ones). The great Argentinian player Ossie Ardiles was well known for singing that he wanted to "win the cup for Tottingham".
Jul. 17th, 2017 08:21 am (UTC)
Just like Tom Thumb's Blues
Was cruising through this, until like Vinyl stymied by the CAREWORN/ WINDBAG crosser when I hit the harder stuff on Rue Morgue Avenue. Would have been at 15 minutes but didn't parse CAREWORN for another 10 minutes and just biffed WINDBAG. COD TOM THUMB for giving me today's ear worm. We're off up to Lancashire this affo, so won't be posting until the weekend. Thank you V and setter.
Jul. 17th, 2017 12:52 pm (UTC)
Re: Just like Tom Thumb's Blues
As you can see from the blog title, I was pushed off in a different '60s musical direction....
RE: Re: Just like Tom Thumb's Blues - boltonwanderer - Jul. 17th, 2017 08:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Just like Tom Thumb's Blues - john_dun - Jul. 17th, 2017 01:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
RE: Re: Just like Tom Thumb's Blues - boltonwanderer - Jul. 17th, 2017 09:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Re: Just like Tom Thumb's Blues - john_dun - Jul. 17th, 2017 11:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
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